28 March 2012
i know, i know, i've been bagging on high schoolers and college students pretty ruthlessly lately, but man, i don't have a fucking plan for this crap. i get a big pile of tapes and shit there and sometimes i just start running em in, barely knowing what to expect. it ain't my fault all this garbage coalesced in front of my stereo this time.
anyhow, if you were wondering what th type of kids (namely carlos avendaño, later of flotation walls) who woulda started arcade fire (no i still don't know what they sound like, just that there are a lot of them) ripoff bands had it been 2010 were doing in th mid-'90s, well OF COURSE they were ripping off th most over-over-overwrought pseudo-orchestral smashing pumpkins melodrama. and yes, it's chockfull of KILLER lines like "all the pain that comes with you" and "this is who i am" and shit (fave: "some things we find by losing").
what puzzles me MOST about this stuff (and yes, many things about it puzzle me, including th brain-fucklering fact that these tapes were recorded at schwab and ultrasuede - not cheap studios - while everybody else was bugging out on th fact that 8 track cassette decks were being made) is th way th girl/boy vocals don't harmonize or even exist on th same plane. i guess it's maybe just a symptom of young women who listen to too much tori amos (still not really sure what she sounds like either but there's definitely too much of her) or something, but there's NO EFFORT made to conjure a collective [good] thing out of th various parts - and i guess that could be applied to th entirety of th music. everyone's playing th same song, in some way, but it's like after they agreed roughly on however to do that they just never listened to each other or th collective result, and it doesn't form anything attractive - much less magical. and i'd think that's what billy corgan-obsessed kids would be interested in - some kinda hokey "magic" (via feigned depression, natch) - but maybe they were just trying to grow ponytails and touch panties. in which case i hope they succeeded (i don't. -ed.), 'cause there's nothing about this that satisfies even th most vague and forgiving notion of why one wants/needs music in their life; it's utterly joyless navel-gazing schlock made by people who haven't actually had any experiences yet but have evidently been GRAVELY affected by their few attempts at spin the bottle or something. (i honestly don't want to give th impression that i don't think childhood/adolescence/etc can't be/isn't a bizarre, fuckedup time or that i refuse to acknowledge how oddly/deeply [seemingly tiny] gestures/occurrences/etc can punch into a kid's unconscious, but when it manifests itself into tchotch like this a) i have trouble believing th experiences aren't simply invented and 2) well, sometimes BAD is BAD.) all in all it sounds like they simply hadn't yet figured out that they could just go to th fucking renaissance faire…and, actually, if all th lyrics were about quests and mythical beasts and shit i would probably like this enough to tolerate th fucking girl's voice, even.
but maybe you'll like it.
"through my looking glass i see all the ache inside of me."
26 March 2012
and we continue with the crappe! at first i thought there was exactly one good thing about this lp (th overuse of th phrase "the fields behind k-mart" in th track "once you remember"), most of th rest of it being entirely forgettable/somewhat grating consciously-outsider alterna-gunk seemingly influenced only by mitchell froom's soundtrack to 'café flesh' and warren zevon, but th tune "minute forty-five" is actually pretty great in its nash the slash-isms (tho' i doubt i'll ever listen to it all that much). unfortunately overall this is th kind of thing that "helped" widen collegiate consciousness into half-acceptance of stuff like school of fish and crash test dummies a few years later. i dunno what these dudes were going for really - maybe they were just wasting time while they got thru dental school (obviously they didn't have any other friends so recording in their attic was probably their only recreational avenue) - but most of this is just kinda not-dark-enough but sorta depressing, not-poetic-enough but overly verbose and not-funny-enough but fairly cringe-worthy. come to think of it this might be a pseudonymous brian ritchie solo effort. better luck next time.
(note: extensive restoration and digital gobbledygook had to be done in order to salvage th frankly excruciating a capella intro to th fourth track due to a big ol' scratch on my dollar copy. you can thank me later. and if you feel like beating up whoever lives in their old house for th crimes these guys perpetrated against humanity, th sleeve lists their late-'80s residence as 123 clinton street.)
now here's something unlikeable. let's first address some words that should never, ever be used in yr lyrics: trust, distrust, forgive, drown, sentiment, & pride come to mind…and that's pretty much because i decided to pick one per song from th convenient lyric inner sleeve of this tape - glad they thought their crap important enuff to print! should you be unfamiliar with spyglass's ouevre, lemme sum up th sucky little corner of mid-'90s emo that they felt rad enuff about to ape: take th extrovert "weird" girl at yr school with th clunky shoes, find four dudes who tuck in their shirts and get opie cunningham haircuts, add one lowercase word as a collective title for their music-ish meanderings, rinse, repeat. so where on th one hand you have th FUCKING FANTASTIC and genuinely interesting and arresting discount, on th other you have th mildly tolerable samuel and th distinctly execrable copper. one guess from whence th lads and lass of spyglass pull th entirety of their influences - tho what ANYONE sees/saw in these acts (other than 'hey, a GURL'), i can't fucking fathom. literally th most tuneless tunes and overwrought non-emotion applied to STOOPID (and not in th good way) sentiment PLUS th most chalk-scrapingly AWFUL style of singing i can imagine. i'd rather spend th rest of my life on an island with those horrible gurls from sleater-kinney sing-shouting at me about tampons than listen to this tape (or th youtube vids of copper and samuel that i pulled up to make sure my memory wasn't being unkind) one more time. pretty much th exact opposite of th frog a mungus tape (tho that one's got lyrics just as embarrassing).
you might like it, tho'.
finally, some more gut piston for ya - this time it's an early 'demonstration tape' recorded at pica house (these days aka legion of doom). ENTIRELY more ramonesified than th other tape already posted here, you can tell that th dudes hadn't yet been completely infested by col's scuzz (just lima scuzz. and that's some scuzz indeed). fortunately none of this comes to bear whatsoever on these four tunes' respective abilities to kick major fucking ass.
1995 shining moment for these guys (and, at that time, gals). th three places on th interwebs that mention 'em these daze make a big stink aboot their shoegazerness, but i sure don't remember 'em that way. anyhow this tape has lotsa splatty guitar lines all over but i wouldn't call 'em sonic-youthy (certainly not in th way that say, th neon blud tape is sonic-youthy, anyhow) and tho' there's some judicious use of stompbox delay on some of th vox (thx to billy h., producer/engineer extraordinaire), th singing is pretty straighforward. i'd go as far as a very ruff velocity girl comparison in that department, but even that's reaching and anyhow v.g. were shoegazey for only about 2.5 minutes anyhow ("my forgotten favorite"=alltime jam, tho'!). so to oversimplify, end-result-wise, f.a.m. were dancing around swivelarm battlegrip and kill sybil territory more than anything else (tho' in reading th lyrics mebbe a better uncomfortable pairing would be copper and samuel - plus bonus local wanna-be's spyglass [don't worry i've got that tape cued up]) but coming from a completely different perspective than those bands - which is probably best-evidenced by th trajectory that these folks took musically after th 'mungus ceased to be; even if you just follow th rhythm section you come up with th cherubs-meet-linda-blair-isms of subdevil and th what-if-fu-manchu-really-were-funny tack of their current project (with bogtrodder/acid blacker/limb trialer mike sliclen) chomp-chomp. which is to hint that all musical comparisons are largely for descriptive purposes only as th frog a mungus contingent were then and are now expressly about conjuring whatever they can/whatever tickles their fancy out of their personal musical ether - influences and contemporaries be damned.